Nodding Syndrome children at Hope For Humans Rehabilitation Centre in Gulu.

Seventy-eight teenage girls suffering from the nodding syndrome disease in Lamwo district are pregnant. Records from Lamwo district Probation department shows that the girls aged between 15 and 17 years were sexually abused and impregnated by unknown people.

Geoffrey Ocana, the Lamwo district probation officer told The Xtremewood on Tuesday evening that the teenagers were sexually abused during the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease in the country. 

He, however, says that two of the girls died with their babies due to birth and other health complications. He says that they recently registered another case involving a 15-year-old nodding disease victim in Palabek Kal Sub County who was defiled by her biological father.

Ocana explained that the cases of sexual abuse against these girls are on the rise due to negligence by the parents and guardians of the victims, the vulnerability of the girls to perpetrators and loss of hope by the community members in the children. 

James Kidega Nabinson, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner told Oyet, The Xtremewood C.E.O in a phone call that his office is also investigating five parents for reportedly offering their underage girls with the nodding disease to men in exchange for money and sex.

Derrick Kiiza, the Executive Director of Mental Health Uganda, says that persons with mental illness cannot negotiate for safer sex yet sometimes have high libidos and sexual urge hence falling preys to abusers.  

There are currently 337 children suffering from the nodding syndrome in Lamwo district.  Nodding Syndrome is an epileptic disorder characterized by repeated nodding of the head, seizures, mental retardation and growth. It affects otherwise previously normal children aged 3–18 years, with a slight preponderance for the male child.